What a beautiful experience I had there, and she was kind enough to send me back to Calgary with a story for you.
It all started in Canmore five months ago, continued in Mexico, and will never end as long as I’m still breathing. I trust at the end of reading my words you will take away something valuable for your own life, apply it to your own experiences, and the way you deal with FEAR.
So, let’s get back to Mexico shall we?
It was a month ago that I was enjoying the beauty of being near the ocean, eating incredible organic meals made with love, and spending a week with my mentor and mastermind group on an intense journey of personal growth, business growth, yoga, and everything in between. We had planned to experience the incredible powers of a traditional Aztec Tezmacal (also known as a sweat lodge) which the retreat owners offer right on the grounds of the beautiful Mar De Jade centre. I was so excited to experience this ancient, spiritually focused ceremony and hoped it would be a highlight of the retreat for me.
“I’ve wanted to do this forever, can’t wait!”
We were instructed to arrive in our bathing suits and leave everything else behind.
We were lovingly greeted by two men, one stoked the fire and the rocks and the other, Tonatio was going to be our guide and ceremony leader. We were first asked to take a small clump of tobacco from his hand, set an intention for the ceremony, then throw it in the fire burning in front of us.
I thought, ok, that’s easy. “I want to purify and cleanse my body, mind, and spirit so I can become the most powerful and loving woman I can be.” And with that, poof, I threw my tobacco in the fire. We then walked in a slow circle to the tiny door of the sweat lodge and before we entered we swept smoke over our bodies to cleanse ourselves before we crawled in. There were 12 of us in our mastermind group, and we just fit, cross legged, knee to knee, with Tonatio and Bruce (the two men) on either side of the door, men have to sit next to the door.
Well….that’s when I lost it.
I’m sitting there, in a small space, breathing hot, humid air, with burning rocks right in front of me and thinking,
“Oh my god, I’m clausterphobic, I can’t do this!!
And then….Tonatio closes the door. Pitch black. And now my nightmare is FULLY realized.
Pitch black, can’t breathe, hot, humid air, small space. Dying. As I’m dealing with what I believe could be the death of me, Tonatio starts to talk about the ceremony and how its going to go, and all of a sudden a tiny voice interrupts him saying…
“Excuse me. I need to get out.”
Tonatio flips open the door and I look at him with utter fear blazing in my eyes. “I’m sorry, I’m clausterphobic.” I wanted him to let me out NOW, I wanted to get out right away so as not to ruin the experience for everyone else. Just let me out NOW so everyone can enjoy it without me trying to hold it together or have a meltdown during the ceremony.
As he listens to my objections, Tonatio looks into my eyes with compassion and confidence and says “Beauty, you’re not leaving. Just breathe, get out of your head. Don’t become contagious, if you get scared, everyone else will.
Well shit. Ok, dealing with the SCARIEST experience of my life PLUS don’t mess it up for everyone else….damn you Mexico!
So what did I do?
Did I run out the door?
Did I crawl out and escape to the beach for a sunset margarita instead?
Nope. I stayed.
I spent over an hour in the sweat lodge working THROUGH the scariest experience of my life. And even though it was scary, it was incredibly beautiful at the same time. It was an incredible ceremony that dug into the deepest places in my heart and spirit, of that I’m sure. I was doing my best to focus on the ceremony, Tonatio’s words, his wisdom, and I could…but not for long at any given moment. I could not distract myself for more than about 30 seconds from the fear of wondering if my next breath would come.
Many people I’ve talked to that are also self diagnosed as “clausterphobic” commented, “I can’t believe you stayed!” or “I can’t breathe just thinking about it!” And my response to them, “I know exactly HOW I stayed and didn’t crawl out that tiny door” it was obvious to me.
I trusted myself. Plus throw in my stubborn streak and boom…staying put. I trusted everyone in the sweat lodge with me. My mentor and mastermind group kept me IN the experience, but if they weren’t there I would have ran. And a special thank you to Bruce for letting me basically sit on him like a child. Wow, get a grip girl. And the of course the MAN Tonatio, he was exactly what I needed to guide me through it, I trusted him completely.
I remembered the intention I set from the beginning of the ceremony “I want to purify and cleanse my body, mind, and spirit so I can become the most powerful and loving woman I can be.” Well that couldn’t happen if I ran, and when I crawled out of the intense heat, feeling as though I had melted many times over, and wondering what the heck just happened, I thought. Holy shit. “If I can do THAT, I can do ANYTHING!” Intention accomplished right there. I felt incredibly powerful and full of love and trust.
I had mentioned this all started in Canmore, at the beginning of my story. The connection to Mexico is a similar experience happened for me in Canmore, and after the sweat lodge experience the similarity clicked right away. I’ll condense my long Canmore story into a super short version.
I was sitting in the circle at our retreat along with my mentor and mastermind group, as someone was talking about a situation they were going through that felt very challenging, they couldn’t get THROUGH something and felt like a WALL was stopping them. As I was listening to this person speak, intense pain started radiating through my entire body and I felt like I was going to pass out. I had no idea what was going on, and of course was a bit scared because of it. I didn’t know if I should run out the door, or stay and potentially cause a scene, as I am discovering I don’t enjoy “making waves”.
So, what did I do?
Did I run out the door?
Nope. I stayed.
I sat through the pain and the fear of not knowing what was happening to my body. I trusted.
About 10 minutes later I felt better, the pain had stopped. And we realized I had just released a major trauma I had gone through 5 years earlier. I had been holding on to this trauma and story for 5 years…way too long. And my body decided it was time to let it go too, so physically it worked its way THROUGH me and out for good.
Both Canmore and the Mexican Sweat Lodge taught me the same lesson. When I stay in my fear, something beautiful is waiting on the other side. When I don’t run out the door, that’s when the gift occurs. When I stay.
I hope this helps you through your own fears, or at times when you’re scared and want to run.
Something beautiful could be waiting for you if you trust in yourself and others.
Do you have a story about a fearful experience you came through successfully?
I’d love to hear it!